Russian Designer brings Fresh Concept to RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Russian garden designer Tatyana Goltsova will be making a dramatic debut at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016, with The Imperial Garden: Revive, a conceptual ‘Fresh Garden’ which explores the complex relationships between Russia, Ukraine and the UK.

Imperial Garden Revive Illustrationt

Tatyana, who runs a successful garden design practice in Moscow, is the first Russian garden designer to exhibit in the ‘Fresh Garden’ category and only the second Russian designer to have created a garden at Chelsea.

The Imperial Garden: Revive, considers what could happen if politics was removed from the world and as humans we all took a step back and focussed more on what unites us all. This is explored through the analogy of two contrasting areas in the garden which move from a beautiful and natural area of wilderness through to a man-made, manicured and controlled space.  

Central to the garden is the symbolic theme of lace, which has a long tradition in the Slavic States and is dramatically represented throughout the garden by over 600 kilos of crafted aluminium lace, which weaves its way through to bring a unifying harmony to the two sides of the garden.

The two key focal points in the garden are the striking metal lace and an arching bronze figurative water feature “River of Time”.  Both have been created especially for Chelsea by Ukrainian Sculptor Victoria Chichinadze, who is also making her debut at Chelsea this year.  She has been working for over a year on producing the incredible aluminium and bronze sculptures to complement Tatyana’s design.

Victoria’s shinning aluminium lace begins its journey through the garden as tree trunks, which interweave up through the natural trunk of a large weather worn, multi-stemmed Yew tree, to then become part of the tree’s bow.  Within the tree canopy sits a clock which moves anti-clockwise, asking the viewer to take a moment to stop and reflect on what really matters most in life. The lace then continues its passage through the garden to climb up and over the bronze sculpture, before meeting the water and cascading down into a pond below. The lace then seemingly floats across the water, before wrapping around a green mound border to provide a swirling seating area.

Tatyana’s planting palette throughout the garden is restrained with the tightly clipped mounds of yew playing the lead role, supported by delicate pockets of herbaceous perennials including Astrantia, Alliums, Thyme, Ferns and the Rush, Equisetum hyemale.  The plants are being sponsored by the Lorberg nursery in Germany.

Speaking about the garden Tatyana said, “For me exhibiting at RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been a dream, which I have planned for over five years.  Chelsea provides a world stage to design a garden which is not just visually stunning, but which also enables me to express a deeper message about how we can “Revive” peace and harmony in the world, if we just stop looking at borders and our differences and instead reflect on the many synergies we all share as humankind.  The making of this garden is great example of the real harmony that can be achieved between different nations.  I am Russian, Victoria the sculptor is Ukrainian, our contractor is British and our trees and shrubs are from Germany.  We have all worked well together, united in our desire to create this beautiful space.”

For the garden build, Tatyana is working with triple RHS Gold medal winning UK contractors Gardenlink. Managing Director Dan said, “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting international garden which stood out as having the potential to be a very special garden.”

The garden’s sponsors, Imperial Garden Ltd is the largest garden centre in Russia.  Director General Igor Efimkin said, “One of our key business goals has always been to help Russian landscapers reach the highest levels in horticulture.  So we were delighted to be supporting Tatyana with this inspiring garden at what is undoubtedly the most prestigious flower show in the world.”

Following Chelsea the Imperial Garden: Revive, will be travelling back to Russia with Tatyana where it will appear at the Moscow Flower Show 1 – 10 July 2016. The Moscow Flower Show was launched in 2012, following the success of the first Russian designer to attend Chelsea, Karina Lazareva whose Courtyard Garden won a Gold Medal and Best in Show in 2007.  

Children at Great Ormond Street Hospital Get Creative for RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Children at Great Ormond Street Hospital have been having fun creating colourful leaf designs which will be incorporated into the seating for The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which will feature at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2016.

Leaf Fabric GOSH 2 copy

The Show Garden, which is designed by Chris Beardshaw, will appear briefly at RHS Chelsea Flower Show before it moves to its permanent home at Great Ormond Street Hospital immediately after the show, where it will provide a much needed, private and reflective space for parents and families of the children undergoing care at the hospital.

The children were invited to join workshops across the hospital throughout the holidays, so patients’ siblings could also join in the fun. The series of workshops were organised by GO Create! Great Ormond Street Hospital’s in-house arts programme and Chris Beardshaw’s design team.  The children were encouraged to be as imaginative and inventive as they liked, using as many colours and different materials as they wanted in their leaf designs.

Morgan Stanley volunteer Zoe with GOSH patient Vikinte, 7

Once completed the Children’s leaves were displayed in the hospital for everyone to admire, before being scanned and sent to Chris Beardshaw’s design team who have incorporated the designs into a beautifully vibrant fabric –(sample below). The fabric is being used to cover seating in the Show Garden which can be seen by the many thousands of visitor to Chelsea Flower Show, before becoming part of the permanent garden back at the hospital.

Susie Hall, Head of GO Create! said, “At Go Create we strive to create a relaxing, engaging and child-friendly environment to help patients adjust to what can be an extremely difficult time. Everyone has been thrilled to have been involved in the making of this wonderful garden which will be appreciated by families and staff alike. The patients are always delighted for their artwork to be celebrated and shown to the public and they have loved getting involved and being inventive with their designs. They’re really looking forward to seeing their artwork displayed in the garden.”

Chris Beardshaw said, “We really wanted to find a way to engage the children in the making of the garden and it has been wonderful to see the individuality and creativity of all the leaf designs.  We are really looking forward to showing the children how their designs are play such a colourful role on the seating in the finished garden.”

More information about Chris Beardshaw’s garden design at this years Chelsea Flower Show will be is coming to Shoot Show Gardens very soon.

Healthy Garden, Body and Soul

A new study published as an online journal on the Environmental Health Perspectives website has proven that natural environments are beneficial for human physical and mental health.

With growing concern for our next generation’s lifestyle, which shows a marked decline in outdoor activity, this finding will hopefully encourage healthier living through gardening and landscape design. Potentially seeing more design projects like the High line, a garden build on a disused rail line through New York.

 

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A group of scientists; Peter James, Jaime E. Hart, Rachel F. Banay, and Francine Laden researched the connection between residential greenness and mortality. Their results concluded that higher levels of green vegetation were associated with decreased mortality, suggesting regular proximity with vegetation might help people live longer. A research associate from the Harvard Chan School stated “We are surprised to observe such strong associations between increase exposure to greenness and lower mortality rates.” Harvard research shows a 27% reduction in the risk of a heart attack or stroke by doing active tasks in the home or garden. This study spanned over 12 years and nearly 4000 participants. The study also found that women living in areas of vegetation had lower risk of death via cancer or respiratory disease.

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As well as the physical benefits, greenery has shown a positive effect on mental health. These findings will hopefully create new policies and guidelines requiring city planners to incorporate more space for plants when designing or regenerating urban areas.  In addition to the health benefits identified, more green spaces in cities reduce air pollution, reduce noise pollution, increase social interaction, and provide greater opportunity for physical activity.

Another study carried out at Exeter University used images and MRI scans to demonstrate that images of natural landscapes activate an area in the brain associated with calm and medatation. Where as, images of cityscapes resulted in a delay in reaction as the brain tried to process the complexity of the images. It has been suggested by Professor Michael Depledge a former environmental scientist, that people living in urban areas could be suffering in the same way as animals kept in captivity.

To read more studies about human and environmental relationships, visit http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/.

To help get you started on creating your own healthy green patch, use Shoot  to select suitable plant that you will be able to maintain with monthly care list and newsletters with gardening inspiration and tips.

 

Growing with nature

We all want to control pests and weeds in our gardens but more and more of us want to do this organically. We love healthy good food free from chemicals and we worry about the plight of bees and other beneficial insects – so let’s use natural control methods. We are all part of a bigger picture, a food chain that was in place long before pesticides and herbicides were created.

The first line of natural pest defense is healthy soil. It provides young plants a healthy start and gives them strength to withstand some pests and diseases. Adding organic matter every year will encourage organisms (soil bacteria, fungi, nematodes, etc.) to break that matter down further, releasing nutrients that aid plant growth and defenses.

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Encouraging wildlife to inhabit your garden is the next plan of action. You can use techniques to encourage the species that will benefit your plants but not destroy them. For example, birds are a beautiful addition to a garden. They will help reduce pests such as caterpillars, aphids and beetles, but they will also feed on your soft fruits like raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and more. To avoid having your fruit and veg munched, keep allotment planting and natural garden planting separate. Consider including a section in your garden with enough shelter and food source so birds won’t need to eat your prized fruit. If you don’t have the space for a separate area, or your crops are still being devoured, you can protect your soft fruit with cages or netting.

Hedgehogs are superb garden-friendly animals who will happily help you with slug management, avoiding the need for poisonous slug pellets, a particular concern for those of us who have children and or pets. Slugs will chomp through leafy crops and lush ornamental plants such as Hostas and Chrysanthemums. Hedgehogs numbers are declining severely in Britain but there are some simple ways to encourage them back into our gardens where they can thrive. Hedgehogs need more than one garden to survive. If you live in a residential street with adjoining gardens, talk with your neighbours about cutting or raising fences to create a 12cm (5in) hole for hedgehogs to crawl through. After creating this ‘wildlife corridor’, plant hedges and create areas of debris, provide feeding boxes with either cat or dog food, and a water supply. Finally, if your garden has a pond, add ramps or sloping banks to give hedgehogs an escape route so they can get out of the pond easily.

If hedgehogs are not a viable in your garden, then nematodes are an excellent biological control when it comes to controlling slug and snail populations. These micro-predators are invisible to the naked eye and can be purchased at many garden centres. Harmless to our pets, plants, and ourselves, they are easily applied and watered into the soil.

Aphids (greenfly and blackfly) can smoother roses, tomatoes, cabbages and many other plants. They suck plant juices out of the leaves, buds, stems, and roots of plants. This not only damages and weakens the plant, but can potentially introduce harmful viruses. To control these winged pests, you can physical squash them, wash them away using water, or introduce plants that encourage hoverflies and ladybirds, both of which feed on aphids. Plants that encourage hoverflies and ladybirds include Tagetes tenuifolia (Signet marigold), Potentilla crantzii (Alpine cinquefoil), Achillea filipendulina (Yarrow), Anethum graveolens (Dill), Angelica gigas (Korean angelica), Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy), Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel), Veronica spicata (Speedwell), Allium tanguticum (Lavender globe lily), Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed) and Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-eyed Susan). You can also buy live ladybirds to do the job but it is much better to entice them naturally.

For more information other troublesome pests and diseases such as Winter moth caterpillars, beetles, and red spider mite, visit our pest and disease page and build your own personal plant list to see what to look out for.

Upcoming RHS event

There are some great RHS events coming up in April and May.

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First off is the London Spring Plant Extravaganza featuring the RHS Orchid Show, held in the Lawrence Hall and Lindy Hall, London from the 1st to 2nd of April. Find out about plant growers favourites, get inspired by vast Spring planting displays and bring your purse along as you will have the chance to buy plants and sundries too.

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Next up is the first RHS Show of the year, from the 15th to 17th of April and held in Bute Park, the RHS Flower Show Cardiff  opens the year with a flurry. This year the RHS are celebrating the centenary of the birth of world-famous author Roald Dahl. The show is full of entertainment for all ages, with activities; learning to forage, building a den and visit the 58 nurseries with impressive displays of Daffodils (narcissus), Tulips (tulips) and many more .

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Then to top it all off, we have the excitement and suspense of the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show from the 24th to 28 of May. A great place to see new plants, trends, style and gain inspiration for your own garden design.  We will be updating articles and blogs from the show gardens, Artisan gardens and Fresh Gardens, so watch this space.

And remember if you do visit any of these events, please email or tweet us your photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Plants For Bees

Many of you will already be aware that our bees are in trouble and that garden flowers can be a really important source of food for them. But its not always easy to work out which plants are best for them. There are quite a few lists of recommended plants and the RHS has developed a ‘plants for pollinator’ logo for plant producers to use on labels, but the trouble with lists is that they imply all those plants are equally valuable.

_3008490Tiny solitary bee on Helenium autumnale

To try and find out more about which plants attract the most bees, Rosi Rollings, a keen gardener and beekeeper, started doing some research five years ago and has now published her findings.

Her method is simple: from the lists of recommended plants, she chose 69 species and planted each in a block of one square meter then regularly counted a ‘snapshot’ of the bees that visited each planted block. All different species of bee were counted including some you might not normally spot in your garden like the tiny solitary bee in the picture above.

 She concluded that both the number of bees at any time and the number of weeks that plant is flowering are important factors and combined average bees with length of flowering time to produce a rating.

Out of the 69 different bee-friendly garden plants tested, here the top 30 rated plants based on the data for 2015 and 2014:

Screenshot 2016-03-18 12.32.52 “Top 30’ plants for attracting bees

The top 3 plants are, Helenium autumnale (sneezewort), an american prairie daisy, Sedum spectabile(ice plant) and our downland native biennial, Echium vulgare (vipers bugloss).

IMG_0614Honey bee and solitary bee on Sedum spectabile

These findings also support recent research by the RHS that native plants do not attract more bees than non-native.

Rosi Rollings now runs an on-line plant nursery that specializes in ‘plants for bees’. For more details on the research go to http://www.rosybee.com/

 

Professional Spotlight

This week we asked Marc Piechocki, a new Professional Shoot member, a few questions to find out more about him, his company I-Echo Landscape Designs and how he uses Shoot.

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 Where are you based and willing to travel for design work?

We are based in Wimbledon Village and our projects are mostly in London and Surrey, but distance is not a problem. We have projects abroad and our cutting edge visualisation and design service means that we can effectively communicate online which minimises the need for site visits during the design process.

How did you find Shoot?

I was searching to find a solution to a gap in our specification process. We needed to transfer our large plant lists into a more visually informative format quickly.  I stumbled upon Shoot whilst doing researching online. Shoot covered everything I needed and now achieves even more, it has also enabled us expanded our service.

How do you use Shoot in your design process?

We introduce Shoot to our clients very early in the design process by asking them to attach any plants that they specifically desire. Plant lists are then developed using Excel and imported into Shoot which does a very good job in finding photos and profiles. These are invaluable when explaining a scheme to our clients. Once the plant list has been confirmed I then share this list with our planting/maintenance team who can then calculate how many hours would be required in the garden so we can produce a planting and maintenance quote.

What are your top 3 plants? (Sorry, we know that is a hard question to answer!)

Well that is difficult,  I think Erigeron karvinskianus is great for bordering paving as it will soften any edge. Cornus Kousa ‘Miss Satomi’ is a beautiful specimen and is a very  delicate Kousa variety with lovely petal tones and Verbena bonariensis a great splash of colour perfect for impact within a border.

And finally, what is your favourite feature in Shoot for Professionals?

There are many favourites so I have to mention my top two firstly the plant list upload facility is very powerful and saves so much time in trawling through google for plant details and photos. Secondly is the ability to communicate fluidly with our clients and retain that communication beyond the completion of a design.

Check out our blog on pricing options for Professionals for more information.

New Plants at Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has always been the place to showcase new, rare, and beautiful plants and this year is no exception. The Brewin Dolphin Garden, designed by eminent nurserywoman Rosy Hardy, marks the launch of four new varieties of herbaceous perennials.

Cirsium rivulare Frosted Magic

Rosy frequently uses the classic Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ in her designs, but this garden features an unusual white-flowered form of this popular thistle, Cirsium rivulare ‘Frosted Magic’. This plant is a sturdy, upright, easy to grow perennial with a long flowering season in summer, perfect for the garden or a landscape with “prairie-style” planting. At maturity, it should reached 120cm with a max spread of 60cm.

Another newcomer, Nepeta x faassenii ‘Crystal Cloud‘ sports whorled spikes of delicate, pale lilac flowers, an exciting new colour for this species. The plant is compact and bushy with an upright habit. It’s as easy to grow as other Nepeta and, it’s grey-green leaves and pale flowers make a great partner for plants with dark foliage. Geranium ‘Midnight Reiter’, with its dark purple leaves and dark blue flowers, is an excellent choice. ‘Crystal Cloud’ grows to a max height of 45cm and flowers from late spring to late summer.

FD14681 Veronica Mountain Breeze

Also new are Veronica ‘Mountain Breeze’ and Gaura ‘Rosy Shimmers’, the latter bred by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants and is a contender for Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year. ‘Rosy Shimmers’ is tall, eventually reaching 1 metre with  reddish pink leaves and large, pale pink petals. Forming a compact mat no more than 40cm tall, ‘Mountain Breeze’ has lightly-striped, mid blue and is a repeat flowerer!

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Rosy will be planting all of these new cultivars exactly where one would find them naturally, adhering to her mantra of ‘right plant, right place’. Entitled Forever Freefolk , The Brewin Dolphin Garden 2016 aims to highlight the fragility of chalk streams which have dwindled to around 200 worldwide and are further endangered by pollution and climate change.

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The River Test in Hampshire is a perfect example of these rare and vital natural resources. The Test runs through Rosy Hardys’ Hampshire village and is very much the inspiration for this, her very first Chelsea show garden. Forever Freefolk is divided into four distinct planting zones: shady, dry chalk grassland, part shade/damp and lush damp. Nearly 6,000 plants, all grown by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, will fill these zones.

A dry chalk stream bed, surrounded by Achillea ‘Moonshine’, Alchemilla sericata ‘Gold Stike’, and Iris ‘Jane Phillips’, leads the eye back to the stream’s source. The planting gradually changes to reflect the change in habitat. The final zone, a lush, damp place, includes Astrantia ‘Ruby Giant’, Baptisia australis, Caltha palustris and Campanula porskyana.

Shade loving plants in this zone are Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’, Bergenia ‘Wilton’, Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ and, if the weather cooperates, there could even be another new introduction, Digitalis ‘Gold Crest’. Key plants in the grassland zone are Dianthus armeria, Eleagnus ‘Quicksilver’, Erigeron krvinskianus and Eriophyllum lanatum.

 

Modern Slavery Garden

Juliet Sargeant Designs Show Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 to Highight the Existence of Modern Slavery in the UK & Effect Change

The Juliet Sargeant Designs show Garden is a celebration of the British Parliment passing the Modern Slavery Act  into law on 26 March 2015.

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However, this law is just the beginning. Ninety percent of actual change in circumstances is due to the actions of law enforcement and the general public. It is with this fact in mind that a group of like-minded individuals from all walks of life came together and created this garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Despite this law, statistics tell us there are an estimated 13,000 enslaved people in the UK currently, and more than 27 million people worldwide.  The aim of this garden is to raise public awareness of this issue. “Being involved in the RHS Chelsea Flower show affords us a wonderful opportunity to get the message into the living rooms of the great British public, build support and help end modern slavery” Mirabelle Galvin, Modern Slavery Garden Team Member.

The garden features a number of doors. First to meet the eye are bright, inviting doors surrounded by colourful planting schemes, used to illustrate the ordinary streets in which we live. Behind these doors, we glimpse a series of dark, imposing, locked doors, symbolising  the hidden ‘behind closed doors’ nature of modern slavery. 

Translucent planting separates the front of the garden from the darker inner space. Feathery fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and the stems of Verbascum and lupin (Lupinus) echo the vertical iron railings surrounding the garden. A ribbon of warm apricot and orange hues run around the perimeter of the garden and compliment the bright colours of the painted front doors. These ribbons include the brightly-coloured, cottage garden favourites, like Peony ‘Coral Sunset’ (Paeonia ‘Coral Sunset’) and Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’. Included are recently introduced varieties like Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ , launched at Chelsea in 2010, and Heuchera macrantha ‘Palace Purple’ , which debuted in 1983.

Juliet has also chosen to include static pauses in the planting with Coprosma ‘Lemon and Lime’ and Coprosma ‘Pina Colada’ These contrast with the more dramatic forms of Red hook sedge (Uncinia rub) and New Zealand wind grass (Amenanthele lessoniana). This is clearly a garden of contrasts, the bright, uplifting colours surrounded the black heart of the garden’s interior.

The Pollen is coming, be prepared.

Spring has sprung and everything is waking. However, as flowers start to bloom, that ‘everything’ may include your hay fever!

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For those of you who like the outdoors, but suffer from pollen allergies, we want to help! As all doctors agree, prevention is better than a cure so understanding what kind of pollen you are allergic to is more than half the battle. If you can work out what triggers your hay fever, you can try to avoid it whilst still enjoying outdoor activities , especially gardening!

Since pollen is primarily carried by wind or insects, it is impossible to avoid it altogether. Airborne pollen is at its highest concentration in the morning as the temperature starts to warm and in the evening as the temperature cools. Warm, windy days are the worst for airborne pollen, but many allergy-suffering gardeners cannot stop working due to these conditions. In this situation, seeking medical advice and wearing personal protective equipment are the best ways to lessen allergy symptoms. Generally, different plant groups create more pollen during a specific time frame throughout the year. You may be able to identify what type of pollen you allergic by what time of year you have symptoms:

  • Tree pollen usually affects people from January to May
  • Grass pollen is released in May through to the end of the grass growing period (this is usually autumn).
  • Weed pollen season is late summer into autumn.

Easy ways to reduce your pollen contact:

  1. If you suffer from a tree pollen allergy, avoid planting trees or shrubs with catkins such as: alder (Alnus) , ash (Fraxinus) , beech (Fagus) , birch (Betula) , elm (Ulmus), ginkgo, hazel (Corylus) , mulberry (Morus) and oak (Quercus) . If you desperately want to plant one of these trees in your garden, check if it is dioecious so you can select a female plant that won’t produce pollen but will produce fruit.

  2. Choose plants that attract wildlife. Their pollen is generally collected by insects so it is less likely to be airborne. Plants like foxgloves (Digitalis), Campsis and other trumpet-shaped flowers are also good options.
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  3. Grass pollen sources include lawns, ornamental grasses, and meadows. Luckily, ornamental grasses such as Muhlenbergia, Stipa, Carex, and Miscanthus are low maintenance during the warmer months. Also, lawn grass pollen can be greatly reduced by frequent cutting.

For more information on allergic reactions, moulds, and more gardening tips for positive avoidance, please visit Allergy UK